Monthly Archives: August 2011

Guest Author Cindy Borgne

Today my guest is Cindy Borgne, amazing author of the sci-fi/paranormal YA novel VALLAR

Hi dear Cindy, welcome! Tell us a few things about yourself.

I’m a mother of two kids from Michigan. I started writing when I was about fourteen. Back then I actually wrote fan fiction, and didn’t even know it was called fan fiction! Thankfully, I moved onto creating my own characters. When I get bored, I can write and escape into these worlds I like to create. I also enjoy the challenge. Writing gives me something to look forward to.

Tell us about your published novel VALLAR, what is it about?

Vallar is the story of Ian Connors, a 16 year old, psychic. He has a vision of a girl he has never met before and can’t help wanting to find to her, but his attempts put her in danger from his own people.

The setting is a dystopian society on Mars where scientific colonies have evolved into military factions in order to survive. Earth refuses to help due to their own problems of overpopulation and dwindling resources. The leaders of Marscorp believe that by conquering smaller organizations they will be able to gain enough power to force their way back to Earth. In order to complete their mission, Admiral Beacon uses Ian for his psychic ability.

Ian must save the girl of his dreams and escape the corruption surrounding him – otherwise there is no future for either of them. He must take charge of his life, or he will remain a pawn and forever separated from those he loves.

I just recently I found out Vallar is a finalist in the Reader’s Favorte contest. I will find out the results in September.

What inspired you to write VALLAR?

It started with a question: What if someone had psychic ability and was caught in a situation of being used by someone with power? What if he didn’t realize at first, but when he did he was still forced to do things he knew were wrong? What would he do?

Also the idea of putting this all on Mars came about when I’d read about companies building rocket-like planes capable of going into orbit around the Earth. I thought maybe one day it would be corporations that go to the moon or even Mars. Rather than NASA.

Then what if things went wrong and the corporations were abandoned by Earth? In my story, they turn against each other.

Which is your favorite scene from your book?

I had to think about this one. Several come to mind. The way Vallar is written everything is discovered through Ian’s eyes, so it can be hard to mention a scene without giving too much away something. There is a scene where Ian finds out a secret about his boss (Sonny) at the elevator factory. I like it because it throws in a bit of a twist and adds to the characterization of Sonny. It also emphasizes more of the suffering caused by Marscorp.

Tell us about your favorite character in your book.

Ian, the main character. His heart is always in the right place even though he makes mistakes. He’s so stubborn, but for the right reasons. He will go against anyone who is trying to make him do the wrong thing no matter how powerful they might be even though he is only sixteen.

I have to mention Sonny as my second favorite. He becomes Ian’s best friend and protects him. He changes so much during the story.

What kind of research did you have to do for it?

There was a good deal of research involved. I studied the book “A Traveler’s Guide to Mars.” This book has the best detailed description of the various areas of Mars that I could find. I also have a geologist/engineer critique partner that helped me with some of the technical aspects. I studied any map about Mars I could find. Google Mars is a good resource. I also studied the environment on Mars in depth.

What are you working on currently? Can we see a bit of it?

I’m mostly working on the sequel to Vallar. I have a small blurb for it. I’m sure it won’t be the final version.

A week before graduation, Ian Connors foresees a war that wipes out his home and loved ones. Can he prevent the Vallar alliance from being destroyed?

This is the last paragraph of Chapter 1.

I gripped one of my pillows and almost tore it apart in frustration over not having seen enough to give me any idea of how to stop it. It had to be an attack from the Marcs. They either knew our location or they had found out, but the swarm, I’d never seen so many ships or anything that even looked like that one with the large wings. No wonder Marscorp had been so quiet this last year. I couldn’t let Kayla and Sonny die.

What are your thoughts on self publishing vs. the traditional route?

I think they both have their pros and cons. With self-publishing, you have control of the product and you can publish it a lot faster. On the other hand, you have to do everything yourself and/or pay for things such as cover art and editing with no guarantee that there will be enough sales to cover it. But you can offer your book at more competitive prices. Yet, there is still the stigma of self-publishing, and some readers just will not give a self-published book a try. But on the other hand, with cheaper prices and e-books more readers are opening their minds about it.

With the traditional route, you have editing and cover art provided, of course. There is someone other than you saying “Hey, this is a good book!” If you’re published by a big house, they have the money to advertise and get your book placed in the showy spots in book stores (if they decide to do so). Smaller publishers usually leave most of the marketing up to the author. Lastly, it’s easier to get reviews for a traditionally published book.

What advice do you have for aspiring novelists?

I think the main thing is to not give up and stick with it. Try to enjoy the process and don’t over think rejections. Most rejections happen, not because they don’t like your writing, but because you are an unknown and they don’t think they can sell it. This goes back to an advantage of self-publishing because you can begin to gain readers on your own, which may later give you an advantage in getting an agent.

Also if you’re planning on self-publishing be careful not to rush the project. Take your time and be sure to get beta readers or work with a critique group. Everything has to come across as professional. Cover art, website, flyers, etc. Try to think of things from the buyer’s perspective. Would you buy your own book?

Thanks for having me today, Chrys.



Vallar on Amazon:

Vallar on Smashwords:


Six Sentence Sunday – The Boat

Good Sunday to all! 🙂 Today I continue where I left off last week, with my novel Rex Rising.

The man appeared at the right periphery of Elei’s tainted vision — a splash of red. He went still when Elei cocked the hammer. The click rang too loud in the quiet.

“Calm down, will you,” the man said, raising his hands. “Just checking on you. You’re bleeding all over my boat.”

I am pleased to say that Rex Rising has started to sell.:)

Blurb: In a world where parasites create new human races, Elei leads a peaceful life as aircar driver — until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side and the fleet at his heels. Pursued for a secret he does not possess, he has but one thought: to stay alive. Yet unless he finds out this deadly secret, he’s a dead man.

Read my interview on Victorine Lieske’s blog about Rex Rising

You can find Rex Rising at the following distributors:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon DE


Be sure to check out other great snippets by other authors

Guest Author Victorine E. Lieske

Meet Victorine E. Lieske, NYT Author.

Chrys: Hi dear Vicki, welcome to my blog. It’s a pleasure having you here. With your first book, Not What She Seems, you made the NY Times list. Now you have a new book out, The Overtaking. What inspired the story?

Victorine: It was an idea for a book I had come up with years ago. I had wondered what it would be like to find out we weren’t really living on Earth, that our memories had been altered, and that we’re living our lives not knowing who we really were. This idea grew, and it came to life in the Maslonian and Dyken races, one taking over the other and putting them in a fake environment. And then I thought it would be great to have members of the opposite races fall in love. That’s when Shayne and Danielle were formed.

Chrys: Do you have a favorite scene in The Overtaking?

Victorine: Yes, I think my favorite scene is where Shayne first figures out he can move objects with his mind after his memory has been altered. Danielle sees him use his power and gets frightened because she knows she has to turn him into the authorities who will wipe his memory again. He’s already had two memory wipes, and she doesn’t want him to forget her again. It’s a tense scene where he reveals to her that he can read her mind and he knows she’s one of them, and also that she has feelings for him.

Chrys: What are you working on now?

Victorine: I’m writing the sequel to The Overtaking, which has proven to be very fun for me. Trenton takes Danielle into the Holodome and puts her into a mental institution where she learns that all of the mental patients were resequencing mess-ups. Many of them can remember bits and pieces of their past, and a few still have their powers. Shayne is locked out of the Holodome and is devising a plan to get back in. Of course he doesn’t know where Danielle is or how to get back out after he’s found her. I’m not sure how he’s going to do it either!

Chrys: What inspired you to start writing?

Victorine: I was an avid reader growing up. Loving books as I did, I always thought it would be cool to write a novel. But I didn’t have the time, and I didn’t make the time, until I injured my back and had nothing else to do. Then I thought I would write that novel I had always wanted to write. I wrote the first draft of that book, Not What She Seems, in one week. I didn’t know anything about writing, so it took four years of revising to make that into something good. I was shocked when that book took off and sold over 100,000 copies and made the New York Times best seller list. I didn’t really think of myself as a writer, it was just something I did for fun.

Chrys: What do you love most about your writing?

Victorine: I love hearing from fans. It’s fantastic when people tell me they’ve enjoyed reading my book. It makes it all worth it, to know someone stayed up late at night to finish my story.

Chrys: What are your goals as a writer?

Victorine: I would love to be able to write full time. That’s a hard goal to accomplish because writing income is very unreliable, but for now I’m happy with juggling my business and my writing.

Chrys: What keeps you motivated?

Victorine: My readers definitely keep me motivated. Sometimes readers will ask me when my next book is coming out. I’ve been in their shoes, anxious to read someone’s next book, so I know how it feels. I try to write each day so they don’t have to wait for a long time.

Chrys: Thank you for stopping over. Best of luck with your writing!

The Overtaking can be found at:



Meet the author:

Guest Author Marita A. Hansen

Today I have an author guest: Marita A. Hansen who just published her novel Behind the Hood,  a look into the reality of street gangs and violence in New Zealand.

Chrys: Hi Marita! Welcome to my blog. Can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Marita: I am a New Zealander from Auckland. Currently I am living in Singapore. I have been here since December 2009 and will be leaving at the end of 2012.   I am married with two kids.  I like to write, paint, coach soccer, and occasionally referee a match.

Chrys: Singapore, wow! It must be a place that inspires you to write a lot! Why don’t you tell us a little about your published book.

Marita: Behind the Hood is realistic fiction based on a town that I used to live in.  Here is the blurb:

Life on the rough side of New Zealand.

In this South Auckland neighbourhood where gang culture, drink, drugs, sex and violence is already a way of life; a vicious attack on a teenage girl sparks a ripple effect of revenge and fury. Live the carnage through multiple viewpoints as the tale unfolds to a bloody climax.

Warning: NOT for the fainthearted.

Chrys: Well I have to say, it sounds fascinating, and I can’t wait to read it! Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Marita: You can follow my blog here:


You can find Behind the Hood at the following distributors:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon DE


Sample from Behind the Hood:


Maia Daniels knew she should just ignore the boys. Walk past, don’t listen, she told herself. Don’t talk back.

It was ten o’clock on a Saturday night. The gang were sitting on a wall outside Claydon Pub, passing around a smoke. She’d seen some of them at high school, when they decided to turn up that is.

Whooping and yelling came from the pub. A television blared loudly, no doubt replaying the All Blacks’ rugby match against the Wallabies. Maia stopped at the driveway as a purple Holden drove into the car park. Music blasted from inside the souped-up machine, the bass pumping its steady beat out into the night.

“Maia, c’mere,” Tama Harris yelled.

The gang leader was eighteen, tall and solidly built, with a wide, flat nose. He’d shaved off his hair recently, replacing it with a curved pattern called a moko. Usually, the tattoo adorned the face, a sign of a Maori warrior—something to be proud of. But Tama was no one to be proud of, nothing but a dreg who constantly harassed her. Unlike the other boys, he wore his hoodie tied around his waist, his ripped jeans and muscle shirt unsuitable for the cold autumn weather. Maia figured he was probably high on something, either from the weed in his hand or the empty bottles at his feet—or both.

“Hey, Maia! Are ya a double d?” a podgy boy with spiky blond hair shouted.

“They sure felt like it,” Tama replied, his hand actions eliciting laughter from the gang.

A blush ran across Maia’s cheeks. Shit, she hated her breasts. Even in her oversized sweatshirt they still grabbed attention. She pulled her hood further over her head, and rounded her shoulders. After another car passed, she hitched up her track pants and walked across the muddy driveway.

Tama hollered, “Oi! I told ja to c’mere.”

She looked back, aching to give him the finger, but instead jammed her hands into her pockets. God, she was a moron for sneaking out, but … Ben’s raves were always awesome. Why couldn’t her mum let her go? It wasn’t like she did drugs, and the boys at the party were just mates.

Tama’s scowl changed into a grin. He threw his joint onto the ground and jumped off the stone wall. With a jerk of his head, he indicated for the gang to follow.

Maia’s heartbeat picked up. Still concentrating on Tama, she stepped off the kerb and onto Waiata Crescent. The blast of a horn made her leap back. The front passenger leaned out of a battered sedan, and swore at her. Ignoring the pimply git, she scooted around the car and across the side road.

A loud wolf-whistle made her jump. She glanced over her shoulder. Tama’s eyes were fixated on her, promising things she didn’t want.

He grabbed his crotch. “I like ya from behind, Maia.”

All the boys, except for Mikey Thomas, laughed. Tama’s cousin looked away as though uncomfortable with what was happening. He was fourteen and in her class at school. She thought he liked her; either that or he had a staring problem. Yeah, she’d only noticed because she was usually checking him out too.

Maia wondered if she could lose the gang by cutting across the highway. Traffic was heavy, making this option just as dangerous as stopping for Tama. Further up the road, past the tyre yard, the video and liquor stores’ lights were on. The neon sign of the happy video man was a welcoming sight. It was maybe a hundred metres away. She thought she had a chance of outrunning Tama. She was fast, damned fast. If she’d showed up to school enough, she probably would’ve been on the track team.

“Maia, pretty Maia,” Tama taunted. “I’ve got sumpthin’ to show you.”

Maia wasn’t sure whether it was a knife—or something else in his pants. She knew he carried a switchblade. He’d stabbed her brother in the arm once when Nike attacked him with a baseball bat. She’d always wondered whether this was why Tama harassed her. But she couldn’t blame Nike for it. Leila, his girlfriend at the time, had caused the fight. The bitch had cheated on him with Tama, then cried rape after he found out.

“Leave me alone, Tama,” she said, remembering the last time he’d approached her. She’d kicked him in the balls for grabbing her breasts. “Nike said he’d beat the living snot outta you if you came near me again.”

“I’d love to see him fuckin’ try. Plus, you owe me, bitch.”

Maia knew she should keep her mouth shut; that whenever she spoke it got her into trouble. Her mother had told her countless times, “You speak too much, Maia, you should listen more.”

She grinned, unable to help herself. “What do I owe you? More bruised balls?”

She heard a slicing noise behind her, the sound of a switchblade being opened. Shit!

“Get her,” Tama yelled.

Author Marita A. Hansen.

Six Sentence Sunday – Rex Rising

I am very pleased to brag about the release of my YA sci-fi novel REX RISING on Kindle and Smashwords. 🙂 In it, Elei’s peaceful life is shattered one evening when his boss/foster mother is shot dead and he barely escapes with his life. With the fleet at his heels and a bullet in his side, he will do all he can to survive – but his pursuers don’t appear inclined to sit down and talk, and they are convinced he knows something they’d obviously kill for…

So, to today’s excerpt!


Elei jerked and sharp pain erupted in his side. Hissing, he drew his gun and waited. His possessed eye throbbed; cronion, the strongest of his resident parasites, hated surprises. The world lit up in bright colors. Be ready.

You can find Rex Rising at the following distributors:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon DE


Thank you for dropping by. I will be posting snippets from Rex Rising over the next weeks.

Read more excerpts from wonderful authors at:

Have fun! 🙂

Rex Rising is live!

I am thrilled to officially announce the release of my Young adult Science Fiction novel REX RISING on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.

In case you wonder, this wasn’t a sudden decision. Granted, a year ago I wasn’t considering self publishing anything – but that was still the pre-eelectronic-self-publishing era. 🙂 Publishing for free on Amazon and Smashwords was already available then but few of us knew about it.

Since then I have also published a novella with a small publisher and plenty of short stories with publishers and magazines, so getting to see what traditional publishing was about (even though that is also mostly electronic now). I learned what it was like to work with deadlines, content and line editors, cover designers, how the royalties system works, what to look out for and what to appreciate.

It has been a fascinating year.

And somewhere along the way I decided that I really wanted to try publishing a book on my own as well. I wanted to design my own cover, do my own formatting, set my own deadlines and price and not to have to wait for a year until my next book came out (as it would with a traditional publisher).

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear about trad publishing again – on the contrary. My experience with MuseItUp publishing was great and I intend to submit more novellas to them. But I also loved the self publishing experience and look forward to publishing more stories on my own too! 🙂

REX RISING is a project I started years ago. It was a novella, which I expanded into a novel as I revised it. It plays on my fascination with parasites and all the ways in which they change us.

Parasites have evolved alongside us since forever and may have been one of the forces that pushed forward the creation of complex organisms. They affect our health and our behavior in many ways, and our bodies are so adapted to them that not having them causes the illnesses of our century: autoimmune diseases where the body, not finding any parasites to fight with, attacks itself.

What parasites can do verges on magic. We barely understand all the ways in which parasites control us. What may sound like demonic possession or superpowers may be explained by parasites.

I loved the process of researching my novel, then writing and editing it, and then creating a cover for it that pleases me. I always wanted to work with images! Now I hope to start a blog tour to advertise Rex Rising before I move on to writing the sequel.

I have created a page on this blog for Rex Rising which I will be updating regularly. Visit it to watch the trailer, read an excerpt, see the map, and read more about it:

Thanks for standing by me on this wonderful journey! 🙂

Watch the trailer:

You can find Rex Rising at the following distributors:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon DE